Building a system to carry water from A to B is the art of plumbing. This art has been around for more than 3,000 years in different guises, reaching its zenith in ancient times in Rome, where aqueducts and underwater heating systems were devised to keep the citizenry warm and well-watered.
The world’s come a long way since those days, though, and now plumbing is a far more technical and precise enterprise. Nowadays a wide range of scenarios, from medical devices and food dispensing equipment, to chemical processing, require precise fluid management systems.
In this short guide, you’ll learn some of the key considerations needed in today’s sophisticated plumbing projects.
Water flow is key
When you’re plumbing, you might feel that all you need to do it make an air-tight passage for your water to flow through, and then turn on the faucet. After all, common sense says that the water pressure that’s generated by the water system to which you’re connecting will push water through your pipes, right?
However, plumbing is rarely so simple. You see, water pressure is only maintained by the narrowness of the pipe that the water travels through. You will be aware of this effect when you put your thumb on the end of a garden hose. This same effect needs to be happening in your pipes — and only the right width of pipes will provide high-pressure flow.
Sensors and safety
Meanwhile, once you’ve found the right width for your piping, there are still several elements that you’ll have to bring together in order to make your fluid system safe and secure. If you’re building a home plumbing system, you will certainly need to make use of valves to prevent backflow, and some sensors to feedback to your central water management system.
But elsewhere, when you’re working on the plumbing for machines and other devices, you’ll need to be sure that the water flowing through these devices is perfect for the device’s needs. For some situations, you’ll need to ensure there are no bubbles in your fluid supply, which can be checked using bubble sensors, and that you’re using corrosion-resistant elements to avoid ruptures and failures over time.
Materials and costs
When you’re getting into plumbing — either as a DIY hobby, as a career, or as a project connected to a device or machine that you’re making — you need to know what sort of budget you should be setting for yourself. There’s good news on this account: many simple pipes are incredibly cheap, and can be bought in bulk at most hardware retailers.
The less rosy news is that the more specialized you get, the more difficult it is to find the right piece for your machine or device, and, as such, the higher the likelihood that you’ll have to make the part yourself. You can do this in a lab, or increasingly this is performed by 3D printers, which you can pay to access after designing the piece on a computer.